Publication - FOI/EIR release

1,140 hours of funded Early Learning and Childcare provision: FOI review

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Published:
2 Nov 2020
1,140 hours of funded Early Learning and Childcare provision: FOI review
FOI reference: FOI/202000079332
Date received: 21 Aug 2020
Date responded: 18 Sep 2020
Information requested

Your original request was:

Any internal Scottish Government correspondence (including emails, letters, text/ Whatsapp messages, typed or hand-written notes, or briefing material) regarding the statutory entitlement to 1,140 hours of funded ELC. I would like this information from 10 June until 08 July.

Your email to Alison Cumming of 21 August asked for a review of the information withheld on the following basis:

I am aware that certain information has not been included in this response due to exemptions under Sections 29 and 30 of the FOISA. However, it is not clear to such exemptions should be applied in relation to this request.

I would be grateful if you could look into this matter and determine whether or not the public interest test has been applied correctly to this request.

Response

I can confirm the public interest test was applied to the information withheld, however the conclusion reached by the original case handlers could be modified and the response should be amended to include the information outlined at Annex A.

I reconsidered the information withheld due to the exemptions set out in your request for a review.

These exemptions are if the information requested relates to:

  • The formulation or development of government policy, section 29(1)(a)

  • Ministerial communications, section 29(1)(b)

Or if disclosure of the information would (be likely to) inhibit substantially:

  • The free and frank provision of advice, section 30(b)(i)

  • The free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation, section 30(b)(ii)

I judged that in some cases the incorrect exemption had been applied, and that there should be no exemptions in this case due to section 29(1)(b). However, when applying the public interest test I found that the information should be exempt as it related to the formulation or development of government policy, section 29(1)(a); OR; that it was likely to inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice, section 30(b)(i); or the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation, section 30(b)(ii).

These exemptions are subject to the public interest test. On balance, I judged that while there is a public interest in the development of policy and communication of the 1140 hours duty, I judged that the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation or advice, and the development of government policy, are important enabling conditions of a successful expansion.

About FOI

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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG